Later, Lights

 Some links to get you to the weekend …

sorry champ.

sorry champ.

The deck was stacked against Lights Out from the get-go. Boxing show. Starless. Slow-moving. TV shows like that just don’t have much success — and Lights Out never did. It’s a good show, better than most on TV now, but ultimately, just not good enough to move the cultural needle. When you have a show built like this, that’s what it needs, something that grabs the audience and just won’t let them leave, even if they want to. It doesn’t help that the acting just isn’t that good. The guy who plays Lights is, at best, a passable actor. I was giving him a pass for a while because I thought he was a an actual boxer trying to be an actor — nope. He’s an actor trying to be a boxer. Wait, shouldn’t that mean he’s even better? That he’s so good in the role I thought he was a boxer in real life? Eh, either way. Pablo Schreiber, however, who plays Light’s brother Johnny, doesn’t even reach the passable stage. His character isn’t very well developed in the first place, but even for the questionable material he’s given, he’s not pulling it off with any level of success. None. I’ve enjoyed him once and only one — the 30 seconds of screen time after Lights’ comeback win. Other than that, he’s been more annoying than compelling. The show was making some progress, especially after this week, and maybe that was what the producers kept saying, “Just give us til March 22, wait til you see the episode!” but the ratings were crap for that one too. And now Lights Out is a goner. The bad streak for FX continues.

The news is better — much better — for one of TV’s best shows. Fringe has been picked up for a fourth season, and not only that, but it’s been renewed for a full 22-episode season. Never, ever saw that coming, especially this soon before the 2011-12 schedule is released, and definitely not a 22-episode commitment. Actually, I’m stunned. Especially with the questionable direction the show headed in last week, with William Bell taking over Olivia’s body. In a show that’s based on being far-fetched, that was a little too much. But let’s worry about that some other time, the news is too good now to worry about it. I know it’s a little too late for you to catch up on the first 2.75 seasons, but you’re missing one of the five or six shows on TV if you’re not watching.

The first full-length Captain America trailer is pretty good. It seems like it’s got the Marvel sense of humor and stays pretty true to the Captain America story, one of the most famous Marvel comic book stories of all time. Chris Evans seems like he’s pretty comfortable in the role and doesn’t ham it up the way Cap easily could be. Everything Cap says is in the comics is hammy, it’s got to be pretty hard to reign it in. Just one complaint — is anyone else freaked out by little CGI Chris Evans? Yeah, that’s him as the before Steve Rodgers at the outset of the trailer. Hearing his voice come out of that body is almost like hearing a voice over. It seems off, almost like a dubbed-in Godzilla movie or something. Not that bad, but still a little off-putting. I’ve been worried about this movie since they announced it because I’m not sure Captain America translates to the big screen the way Spider-Man or the X-Men do. This trailer, however, is the first proof that it might be a good movie after all. GRADE: B

There are two easy bets out there right now where smart people can make some major money if they want. The first is to take the under 97.5 for Philadelphia Phillies wins this year. They’re jinxed this year, the season is going to implode like they’re doing a Mets impersonation. the second one is to take the “OTHER” bet for “Who will replace Michael Scott on The Office?” You’re getting +110 odds, which, after the juice, pretty much means you’ll double your money if it’s “other.” The choices are horrible. NBC has come out and said it won’t be Gervais. And Ben Stiller? Not only is it out of left field, but it certainly doesn’t seem like he’s available. And if he is, why would he tie himself to a TV show? Go ahead and bet Stiller if you want, but if you’d like to see your money do more for you, you can wipe your butt with it.

Because there just aren’t enough drunk people on TV, The Real World will be back for at least three more years, taking it into a 28th season. The good news is the show has done more than one season a year a couple of times, so this isn’t really the 25th year. You don’t have to feel that old. But the show will be 20 years old next year. That means it’s been 19 years since a nation embraced the following quote: “Yo, what up, I’m Eric Nies, this is The Grind!” This is a four-minute clip. I dare you — double dare you — to make it through 30 seconds. Although I do wish the MTV Beach House would come back.

i'm there.

i'm there.

CBS, you had me at Colin Cowherd. Now you’re adding one of the five hottest women on the planet to the cast? Sold! I’m a Colin Cowherd fan, at least on the radio. I can take or leave SportsNation, but the guy is a master on the radio. I hated him at the outset because he took the place of Tony Kornheiser on ESPN radio and I was a huge Kornheiser fan. But he grew on me to the point that I’m now clearly a fan of his. I mentioned the other day that I’m down on Stern lately, and that’s been Cowherd’s gain. I’m actively turning off Stern over the last two months to listen to Colin Cowherd.

Not quite sure what to think of a Parks and Recreation book on the fictional history of Pawnee. Fun side project, or money-grubbing scam? Parks and Rec made the jump to the second stratosphere of comedy last year, and has done nothing but cement that status now. Right now it’s a solid #2 in terms of quality on the NBC Thursday comedy slate, only behind Community. The Office and 30 Rock flip-flop on a weekly basis fighting it out for the 3 and 4 spots, but neither of them are as good as Parks and Rec has been the last couple months.

Quick concert note, even though it doesn’t go on sale until May: 311 and Sublimewill be coming to the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts on July 25 in their Unity Tour. Whatever that means. Saw 311 with Jimmie’s Chicken Shack in 2000 and they were pretty darn good. Ten years later, I have no idea. But it’s certainly better than seeing Poison come around here for the 67,482nd time.

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